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22 Nov 2011 12:11:30

Fourth Annual Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Drive 'n' Ride demonstrates viability of 2012 EU green priorities

Two-day campaign highlights readiness of fuel cell electric vehicles for market breakthrough and the need for infrastructure build-up with Brussels’ first mobile re-fuelling demonstration

Brussels, 22 November 2011 – The fourth edition of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Drive 'n' Ride, organised by Daimler, Linde, Honda, Intelligent Energy, Opel and Toyota, on 22 and 23 November, demonstrates how zero-emission technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells tackle transport emissions, one of the European Commission's two environmental priorities for 2012.

During the Drive 'n' Ride, more than 100 European Union officials, members of the European Parliament and other high-level stakeholders will have the opportunity to experience the reality of clean technology by driving or riding in one of the eight fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) on display. In addition, for the first time in Brussels, a fully mobile and compact hydrogen station, provided by Linde and Daimler, will demonstrate the refuelling process.

To highlight the reality of bringing hydrogen and FCEVs to the market, the Drive 'n' Ride will feature a high-level panel debate on 22 November between 12pm and 2pm. Industry representatives and policy makers will discuss how to hit the market in time to reach the EU 2020 strategic targets.

The infrastructure challenge

The lack of infrastructure currently remains the crucial factor for the market success of green technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells. So far, there are approximately 200 fuel stations worldwide (with some 70 being publically accessible) at which fuel cell vehicles can be refuelled with hydrogen.

Several public-private partnerships, both on a national as well as on an international level, are aiming to increase the number of fuelling stations in order to offer a sufficient hydrogen supply to the growing number of fuel cell-powered cars, expected to hit the streets from 2014 onwards.

"Economic and environmental uncertainties are high in Europe today. Clean and energy efficient technologies such as market ready fuel cell and hydrogen pave the way towards the transformation of our fossil-fuel based economies to a more diverse and energy secure future whilst contributing to a sustainable economic recovery. Only a joint effort of Member States, the EU and the private sector today will put these cars on the road as of 2014", says the panel's key speaker, Henri Winand, chief executive officer of Intelligent Energy.

Carmakers participating in the Drive 'n' Ride emphasise that in the current economic situation, only public-private partnerships can create the stable framework needed to bridge the gap to full commercialisation. According to the EU, clean technologies offer huge commercial opportunities and a market for innovative transport technologies of €300 billion in 2020 (up from €200 billion today).

PLEASE NOTE: pictures of the Drive 'n' Ride campaign will be available for media as of Tuesday 22 November in the afternoon.

About Drive 'n' Ride
For the past four years, the Drive 'n' Ride campaign has been visibly promoting hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles throughout Brussels and raising awareness of the challenges which remain for full commercialisation and European hydrogen infrastructure.

At this year's event (on 22 and 23 November 2011), Daimler, Honda, Intelligent Energy, Linde, Opel and Toyota will unite to offer an exclusive 30-minute test drive in order to experience the comfort of clean driving, the environmental benefits of hydrogen and fuel cell technology as well as full performance in terms of driving range, refuelling time and size of the car.

Political stakeholders will be invited to test drive or ride in five different models of fuel cell electric vehicles and, for the first time in Brussels, witness their refuelling at a hydrogen station located in front of the AutoWorld Museum at Parc du Cinquantenaire. A special access point for Members of the European Parliament will be located at Place du Luxembourg.

The Drive 'n' Ride is organized in parallel to the annual General Assembly of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking which last year attracted some 350 representatives from the industry, research centres and the European Union.

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